Seventy-five years ago on July 2nd, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her flying partner, Fred Noonan were on their way to Howland Island in Pacific, a full 2,500 miles from their previous stop in Lae, New Guinea. Earhart was taking the 29,000-mile flight around the world. This was the first attempt by a woman aviator, or aviatrix.
As we all know, Amelia never made it to Howland Island. She landed instead, according to one researcher, on a small atoll (a coral island surrounding a lagoon) not far from Howland called Nikumaroro Island. Archeologists have uncovered evidence that points to Earhart’s presence, such as a bottle of a popular 1930s skin softener for women, an empty jar of Dr. C.H. Berry’s Freckle Ointment, and other clues. (According to the article in Tribune, a small newspaper from Erickson Living, Earhart was concerned about her freckles.)
The article discusses Ric Gillespie’s findings. Gillespie is head of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHHAR) and has been investigating the Earhart mystery for nearly 25 years. According to Gillespie’s he believes that Amelia and Noonan survived about three months after landing safely (although low on fuel), based on reports from people across the US who received messages from the plane calling for help for as long as there was fuel in the plane.
The TIGHAR team has set out for Nikumaroro in search of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra plane to canvass the surrounding waters for any trace of her plane, using technology remotely operated vehicles equipped with high-definition cameras. As Gillespie quote in the Tribune notes, “Amelia Earhart was a hero to so many, and her story deserves a definitive ending. I hope that out efforts will give her one.” I agree!
P.S. From the Boston Globe online: (www.bostonglobe.com) The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of female pilots, is holding its annual conference* in Providence, RI (beginning today, Wednesday, July 11th-July15th). Earhart was the group’s first president. With nearly 5,000 members in 35 countries, and 145 members in its three New England chapters, the Ninety-Nines are a living memorial to Earhart’s pioneering achievements as an aviator, adventurer, public figure, and staunch advocate for women’s rights.
*For information about the conference go to www.womenpilotsnewengland.org.
P.P.S. At the end of June I posted the death of Nora Ephron, one of my favorite female writers/directors/ humorists, etc. (See article below.) I neglected to mention a wonderful essay by Tom Hanks in the July 9th issue of TIME Magazine. Tom Hanks appeared in two of the movies she wrote: You’ve Got Mail & Sleepless in Seattle. Also, with her sister Delia Ephron she co-wrote the play Love, Loss & What I Wore, based on a book by Ilene Beckerman. I saw it last year in NYC & it was delightful! Check out the website to see if it is playing at a theater near you. (www.lovelossonstage.com)